Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday said he still hoped Catalonia would soon form a viable government, capable of serious dialogue, that obeys the law in order to return to institutional, economic and social normality.

The Spanish government on Monday recognized the powers of newly-elected Catalan leader Quim Torra but failed to ratify his chosen administration, official documents showed, meaning Madrid will continue to impose direct rule on the northeastern region.

Fervent separatist Torra, who has said he wants to recreate the administration that declared independence from Spain in October, put forward on Saturday four men as councillors who are either being held in custody or living in self-imposed exile.